Chancellor Highlights Programs, Faculty, Staff, Enhancing UMass Boston Campus
As UMass Boston Chancellor J. Keith Motley took stock of the university’s physical, academic, and cultural environment on Thursday, one of the winners of the university’s first Joint and Common Future Award identified UMass Boston as an institution from which others can learn.
Motley opened the annual Fall Convocation by sharing some thoughts on the state of the university before a packed ballroom in the Campus Center.
“The University of Massachusetts Boston, already the most diverse four-year higher education institution in New England, is setting a national standard for creating an environment of diversity in key academic programs. People come to us to see how to do diversity in those programs,” Motley said.
The chancellor highlighted the 358 students currently enrolled in the University Honors Program--including a record 95 freshmen. Soon they will be part of a new Honors College, recently approved by the Board of Trustees.
Motley also spoke of the School for the Environment, housed within the College of Science and Mathematics. The new school makes UMass Boston the only university in Massachusetts that provides undergraduate and graduate degrees in environmental science integrating the sciences and social sciences.
The School for Global Inclusion and Social Development also stands out as the first graduate school in the world to focus on the important issues of wellness and economic development from an international perspective.
The chancellor also discussed the evolution of UMass Boston’s physical environment, including a plan to add residential housing by 2015 and an aboveground parking garage. An increased commitment to financial aid is ensuring that UMass Boston will continue to fulfill its mission of access to higher education, Motley said.
“We can be proud of the intellectual condition of the campus, one which is vibrant and exciting,” added Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Winston Langley in his remarks. “Our task for the coming year is to enrich the environment for learning in the area of the overlapping and connected office of citizenship and a more inclusive condition of people.”
Following his convocation address, Motley presented the inaugural Joint and Common Future Award to Yale University professors Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim. Motley said the co-directors of Yale’s Forum on Religion and Ecology have demonstrated years of commitment to “raising our consciousness of the interdependence of all things and a deeper dialogue between science and religion.”
Tucker’s expertise is in East Asia; Grim’s expertise is in indigenous studies. In his comments, Grim talked about how the knowledge of native peoples and the knowledge of scientists are equally valuable. Tucker talked about the need for commitment, integration, and partnerships in academia.
“There’s a freedom and creativity here. It’s not about your C/V, it’s about common good. And that’s what academia should be about. In the School for Environment, science, policy, management, and liberal arts will come together in new conversations. We have said along we need humanities, we need liberal arts, to say there is intrinsic value in the natural world,” Tucker said. “I hope we can establish a partnership with this new school, because we have a lot to learn. This is what America is all about—this bubbling up of energy, and Yale needs to learn from it.”
About UMass Boston
With a growing reputation for innovative research addressing complex issues, the University of Massachusetts Boston, metropolitan Boston’s only public university, offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s ten colleges and graduate schools serve 16,000 students while engaging local, national, and international constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service activities. To learn more about UMass Boston, visit www.umb.edu.